October 18, 2023

Why Family Photographs? | The Happiest Family Photography in Northwest Arkansas

Morning! Today, I wanted to talk about something so near and dear to my heart: Family Photography in Northwest Arkansas!

As a mom, I adore literally everything about family photographs.

As a photographer, it’s been the slowest of slow burns.

I started shooting weddings really heavily when Max was a baby and, while I’ve always enjoyed photographing families, family photography wasn’t a genre I really thought much about. Like, I’ve always booked families and have always absolutely loved those shoots – and have some of the most incredible families that I photograph every year! – but it wasn’t really a focus that I have ever actively pursued. So, loved family photographs and loved shooting them but didn’t, like, market for them or really even post much about them. Does that make sense?

Recently, though! The tides have been changing! I am currently obsessed with family photos!!

Here’s three reasons why!

One: Kids Grow Really Freaking Fast

I know! It’s a total cliche! But as a mom to a thirteen year old, eleven year old, and a four year old, I just can’t even get over how fast time flies. My desk nook in my office is literally peppered with all kinds of photographs but my favorites are the ones of my kids in all kinds of life stages. The photographs with their favorite stuffed animals. The photographs of them crawling all over the couch. The mountainside photographs we’ve had taken in Utah. The photographs of them as babies. All of them are so meaningful to me and I just cherish photographs of my kids so much because, as they grow, they’re constantly leaving their babyhood / childhood / interest phase behind and, as a mom, I want to soak up every moment I can.

Totally going on a tangent! But one of the most bittersweet moments of motherhood to me is this:

The happy moments when you look at your kids and think, “I don’t want to forget this!” with the goofiest smile on your face? Those moments totally pull at my heart! But! As a mom with kids over the age of ten, I’m extremely aware that, even though I have thousands of those moments in my parental history, there’s no way to actually remember all of them. Like, my brain just can’t store every cute or wonderful moment I want to remember.

As for photographs? They can capture that general feel of that general time period!

Two: It’s Really Easy To Not Take Full Family Photos

Like. Why now? Why am I so pulled to family photos after thirteen years of nonstop shooting?

Poppy started preschool recently and, in her class, they display family photos.

First off! That’s a-freaking-dorable. Second off! Guess what mom couldn’t find a family photo – except for one super grainy Halloween photo – of her whole family in the last year? With all the kids and all the parents? Cause y’all! It was me! ME! The mom who has literally photographed hundreds of family photo sessions in Northwest Arkansas and thousands of people through family sessions, senior sessions, and weddings. The most recent family photograph I had of our family that I totally loved was literally from the summer of 2021 when Poppy was almost two. She’s four!! That’s half her life!

When this happened, I was already feeling pretty pulled towards family photography but, honestly, I think this cinched the deal for me a bit. Family photos are so important! We all need them because, once they’re created, we cherish them so much. They’re not just photographs. They’re frames of feelings!

Three: Family Photos Don’t Have To Be Stuffy

As I’ve been thinking about my newfound pull towards family photographs, I keep asking myself why.

And honestly? I think it’s really simple! While I’ve always approached my family sessions with a very laid back feel – I photograph families just like I photograph my own kids! – I still felt like family photographs were a genre I held back from because of my own preconceived notions. It feels a little silly to write this because I have always photographed families and have always loved doing so but, honestly, there’s a big difference between taking family sessions as they come and actively pursuing them. I have adored watching so many families grow. It’s one of my fave things and something I totally cherish!

But! Even as a very relaxed lifestyle family photographer in Northwest Arkansas, I still had the mental hurdle that family photographs need to be traditional for parents to be happy with them. I don’t shoot family photographs traditionally at all – my family sessions are basically like a party with a new aunt that just came to town (lol) – and, for a long time, that held me back. Lately, though? I’m so ready to embrace that feeling, to photograph more families in Fayetteville, and to just love every second of doing so. I’m so excited for the upcoming family sessions I have this fall and to book more family sessions in 2024, too!

Have any questions about family photographs? Contact me here!

You know I’d love to shoot with you!

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Based in Fayetteville, Arkansas Lissa Chandler is a portrait and wedding photographer. Lissa is also the owner of Opal and June where she offers mockup photographs, bookish + history merch, and the dreamiest photoshoot dress rentals. Additionally, Lissa is the host of the podcast Your Photographer Mom. As a creative photographer in Northwest Arkansas, Lissa doesn’t niche down on a genre. She niches on a feeling instead! That feeling? The huge, happy feeling of hope and excitement that you feel as a kid opening up a huge box of 120 crayons. Sound like a feeling you remember? Let’s shoot!